You may recall that, back in June 2009, there was talk of doing a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie without the involvement of creator Joss Whedon, star Sarah Michelle Gellar, or the rest of the TV show cast.
The original 1992 Buffy feature film (on which the TV show was based) was directed by Fran Rubel Kuzui and her husband Kaz put together the financing. The final product wasn’t what Whedon envisioned so he was happy to take another stab at the concept a few years later as a TV show. Whedon and the Kuzuis shared executive producer credits but the latter pair’s involvement only stemmed from their rights to the original movie.
Warner Bros. has now optioned the rights from the Kuzuis and Sandollar Productions (Sandy Gallin and Dolly Parton) for a new film. It will be a reboot based on the 1992 film so viewers shouldn’t expect to see characters like Angel, Giles, Willow, Xander, Spike, or Cordelia on the screen.
Still, Whit Anderson, who is writing the script, is a fan of the beloved TV show. She told the LA Times, “I didn’t really watch much television at all, but I always watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That was the one show I would watch when I got home. I just loved this character. I was the same age as Buffy, and it was so rare to have a female lead character on TV in those days who was strong and capable and smart but also allowed to be feminine.”
Anderson notes that she’s “fighting through” writing the script right now. Charles Roven, one of the producers of Batman Begins, is on board because he likes Anderson’s take on the material. He said, “Generally, I wouldn’t have said, ‘Let’s revive this,’ but Whit’s take is pretty compelling and a lot of fun, and it’s interesting to see all of this reimagined. This is a completely new reboot. Tone is extremely important, and you want the audience to realize what is at stake and the peril is real, but at the same time what’s going on should be fun and inviting and keep everyone engaged. It needs to be relevant to today too, and that is what Whit has found a way to do.”
Anderson knows that there’s a lot of skepticism from fans of the TV show but says she will take the touchstones of Whedon’s world and rework them into a new story, ala Christopher Nolan’s Batman reboot. She notes that she intends to pay particular attention to Buffy’s struggles with her duties and destiny versus what she would like to be doing. Anderson notes, “That conflict was very interesting to me. Those are the things I loved about her and her world. She also represents — like all the heroes — something empowering for us. She reminds us of what we could be if we were in our top form, the best of us if we were at our very best, and even then we still see the vulnerability and doubts she has inside. That’s where we all connect.”
There was hope that Whedon might have some involvement but that’s apparently not happening. He responded to E! about the news that the movie is moving forward and jokingly wrote, “This is a sad, sad reflection on our times, when people must feed off the carcasses of beloved stories from their youths — just because they can’t think of an original idea of their own, like I did with my Avengers idea that I made up myself.”
He also said, “I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie. Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.”
What do you think? Are you curious to see how the reboot is handled or do you have no interest without Whedon’s involvement?